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Channel 4 Launches £3 Million Airtime Fund for First-Time TV Advertisers

Tim Cross  09 June, 2020

UK broadcaster Channel 4 has launched a new initiative offering £3 million in free airtime to first-time TV advertisers, in an effort to attract more ad spend during the lockdown. Through the ‘Greenhouse Fund’, Channel 4 will match the amount that first-time TV advertisers spend on media buys across the broadcaster’s portfolio, effectively doubling their investment.

The fund, offered through Channel 4’s sales house 4Sales, is aimed specifically at small and medium enterprises (SMEs). As well as being new to TV, advertisers have to commit to running their TV campaigns exclusively on Channel 4’s portfolio.

Channel 4 says it is a temporary solution designed specifically to help boost ad revenues as lockdown measures in the UK begin to relax, and businesses begin to resume operations. As VAN has previously reported, with advertisers reigning in ad spend during the pandemic, broadcasters have come up with a number of inventive ways to tempt more brands on to TV. Alongside the Greenhouse Fund, Channel 4 has been offering free creative services with media buys made through 4Sales, and accelerated the launch of a suite of new digital ad products.

Matt Salmon, director of sales at Channel 4, said he hopes brands will take the opportunity to run brand campaigns as lockdown measures relax. “As we start to see the economy opening up again and lockdown easing our new Greenhouse Fund will help small British businesses to embrace the power of TV at a time when audience numbers are spiking and talking to consumers has never been more important,” he said.

Alongside attracting additional ad spend during the pandemic, the Greenhouse Fund could also win new long-term clients for Channel 4. As VAN reported last month, a number of brands have taken advantage of TV’s low prices during the lockdown to advertise on TV for the first time.

Lower prices mean there’s less risk than usual for advertisers which have previously been wary of the medium – and the extra value provided by the Greenhouse Fund will reduce risk even further. But Channel 4 will hope that brands which experiment with TV now will see strong results, and continue spending even when prices return to normal.

TENZING, a UK-based energy drink maker, is the first brand to use the match-fund offer. TENZING’s founder Huib Van Bockel said that despite challenging economic conditions, his company was keen to carry on advertising during the lockdown, and the extra support provided by Channel 4 made TV advertising viable.

“We strongly believe all businesses should take responsibility and do everything they can to keep our economy going,” said Van Bockel. “For this we were looking for a like-minded media partner and we found that in Channel 4. We have also been blown away by the commitment of the sales development team and to everyone we have spoken to at Channel 4 to make this happen.”

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